REVIEW: Destroyer [2018]

Let’s see if it’s your time. It’s billed as a down and dirty revenge flick with some calling it a redundant variation on a theme “better” films already delivered. That’s not how I see it, though. No, Karyn Kusama‘s latest is about guilt. Erin Bell (Nicole Kidman) isn’t drowning herself in alcohol and pushing everyone who loves her away because she’s devoting her life to finding the leader (Toby Kebbell‘s Silas) of the criminal outfit she infiltrated as a green undercover agent over fifteen years ago. That may be her…

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REVIEW: War for the Planet of the Apes [2017]

“We are the beginning and the end” I’ve never seen the original Planet of the Apes films, but the little I know has always presented the titular apes as antagonists. You don’t cast Charlton Heston as your lead circa 1968 unless you want him to be the central figure with which to align. He’s a man trapped on a foreign world ruled by a species his scientists long held as inferior—prototypes for his own advanced existence. How it ends is hardly a spoiler anymore, its subversion of the entire premise…

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REVIEW: Kong: Skull Island [2017]

“Eating’s for the living” It’s amazing how a film’s success can create a tidal wave, but that’s exactly what Gareth Edwards‘ Godzilla did in 2014. We’re talking critical acclaim, half a billion dollars at the box office, and a rejuvenated plea for monster flicks. Well the first two are fact, the third merely hope on behalf of Legendary Pictures. Because their investment isn’t just sequels, it’s about a “MonsterVerse” so important to them that they got Universal Pictures to give Kong: Skull Island‘s rights to Warner Bros. so a single…

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REVIEW: Warcraft [2016]

“From light comes darkness and from darkness light” As of a year ago I didn’t know what MMO meant (massively multiplayer online) and only an hour ago learned “World of Warcraft” didn’t always exist as one. Warcraft has actually been around since 1994 as a real-time strategy game without avatars and networking. There was a storyline before sprawling into the ever-expanding phenomenon it’s become, a beginning to this war between humans and orcs that continues to wage decades later. Duncan Jones‘ film is therefore an adaptation of this original history…

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REVIEW: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice [2010]

“Are you familiar with the grey wolf?” Considering the story goes that Nicolas Cage was the catalyst for getting The Sorcerer’s Apprentice off the ground—he really wanted to do a movie where he had magical powers—and how well-suited his over-the-top theatrics are to family film fare, it’s surprising he hasn’t made a point of doing more this past half decade. All those direct-to-DVD entries can’t be paying him that much money. He did make a run with the two National Treasure movies, coincidentally hatched by the same team of producer…

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REVIEW: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes [2014]

“Ape no kill ape” The hype is spot-on with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. A more focused film than Rise of the Planet of the Apes—which served as an emotive origin tale possessing little unique conflict beyond a fight scene showing off computer effects more than propelling storyline—you should still acknowledge that predecessor allows it to be so. This doesn’t mean you must view it to understand the sequel, however, as a concisely informative prologue is delivered to explain the key plot point of mankind simultaneously giving apes…

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REVIEW: The Counselor [2013]

“You are a glory” If I were to compareThe Counselor to any other movie I’ve seen of late it would have to be Andrew Dominik‘s Killing Them Softly. Both possess a darkly violent subject matter tempered by a series of off-putting, somewhat out-of-place comedic sequences with a bunch of familiar faces seemingly happy to go along for the ride without worrying about how much screen time they’ve actually accrued. While they could be cousins in tone and overall head-scratching befuddlement where meaning is concerned, however, they are far from the…

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REVIEW: Wrath of the Titans [2012]

“I will never leave my son” There’s nothing like a little patricide to bring two estranged brothers like Zeus (Liam Neeson) and Hades (Ralph Fiennes together again. It’s what teamed them up to imprison their father Cronus long ago in the underworld prison Tartarus and it’s what will ultimately make them choose sides again while humanity looks on helplessly for a victor. And while Perseus (Sam Worthington) wouldn’t have minded killing his own God of a father in Clash of the Titans, it is his half-brother Ares (Édgar Ramírez) who…

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REVIEW: War Horse [2011]

“There are big days and there are small days” Thirteen years since Saving Private Ryan and six since his last ‘serious’ work in Munich, Steven Spielberg pulls out all the stops for his newest WWI epic War Horse. Based on the 1982 children’s novel by Michael Morpurgo that was recently adapted into a Tony Award-winning stage play earlier this year, the title deceives as far as explaining the true subject of the work. While we follow Joey the horse from birth to the savage conditions of the Great War, he…

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TIFF10 REVIEW: The Conspirator [2010]

“Why did I fight for the Union if my rights aren’t assured?” The aftermath of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination hasn’t really been the subject of many films that I know of. Of course there is the whole Steven Spielberg Lincoln project that has been pushed back every year since its announcement, a starting date nowhere near close at hand, but while watching a depiction of his life should be interesting, the subject of his death is more so. Here was the first murder of a President, an event no one…

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REVIEW: RocknRolla [2008]

“Was it a slow dance?” Is Guy Ritchie back? Has the impending divorce brought back that violent edge we fans have been missing? I guess it is somewhat idiotic of myself, and others, to dismiss Ritchie as though he’s left the playing field. Sure Swept Away couldn’t have been good as art let alone for his career, but besides that and what some consider a bloated mess in Revolver, Ritchie hasn’t imploded. The guy made two great cockney gangster flicks and with his newest film, RocknRolla, continues the tradition, pulling…

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